Animal cruelty case of former Knoxville restaurant owner to move forward in criminal court, judge says

LaFerney / Source: Washington County Sheriff's Office

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- A Washington County judge said there is probable cause for an animal cruelty case tied to a former Knoxville restaurant owner can move forward in criminal court, CBS affiliate WJHL reported.

Randi LaFerney, the former franchise owner of a Knoxville Duck Donuts shop and franchise owner of Off Leash K-9 Training, and animal trainer Andrew Hunigan are charged with aggravated animal cruelty.

A dog reportedly died while being boarded at the training facility. The family of the dog learned about its death on May 2, according to the Washington County Tennessee Animal Shelter.

“From the pictures we have acquired, it appears the dog's death could have been and should have been prevented,” shelter director Tammy Davis said.

WJHL reported that Dallas, an 8-month-old miniature bull terrier was taken to the facility on March 18 for a two-week stay, but ended up staying six weeks. At the time, the dog reportedly weighed 32 pounds.

On June 12, a judge ruled that there was probable cause to move forward with the animal cruelty case in criminal court.

WJHL reported that LaFerney and Hunigan will be arraigned in criminal court on September 27.

Knoxville Duck Donuts weighed in on the situation, saying, "We are aware of the recent allegations pertaining to the franchise owner of the Knoxville location and her other business. Duck Donuts has taken this matter very seriously and kept an ongoing conversation with the owner during the investigation."

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